Goldweights in geometric shapes (such as this one) or with geometric patterns are the most common form Akan goldweights take. Often, three quarts of the weights in a king's "dja" or "futuo" (goldweighing equipment) would consist of geometric shapes, while the "dja" or "futuo" of commoners would normally consist entirely of geometric weights. Besides the gold weights, a person's "dja" or "futuo" would include a balance, scales, boxes for gold dust, spoons, and brushes-- all the tools necessary to weigh gold dust. Among most Akan-speaking peoples a young man would receive this "toolkit" (called "dja" in Cote d'Ivoire and "futuo" or "samaa" in Ghana) from his father when he came of age.
Signed in pencil on tab: butterfly Inscribed in pencil, on verso, l.l. (in Whistler's hand): "Battersea Morn" - 1st - / Plate destroyed Signed on the plate, u.r.: butterfly Watermark: Arms of Amsterdam
A stretch of water in the foreground and middle ground leads to a horizontal distant shore that is composed of a series of horizontal stepped recessions. The buildings on the far shore appear to be industrial buildings, with many smokestacks. At the bottom of the image are some lightly drawn boats.
Whsitler's home in Chelsea afforded him with views such as this looking towards the commercial portions of Battersea, across the Thames. Whistler favored depicting the river at transitional times of day: dawn, dusk, nighttime because the reduced lighting suggested a poetic beauty, even of warehouses, that broad daylight did not. Here, at dawn, Whistler captures the moment when the shape and mass of objects just begins to coalesce and take on substance.
Semi-circular goldweight with horizontally incised rays.
Goldweights have long been used and produced by Akan-speaking peoples of what is now Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire. The oldest and most numerous kind of weights are the abstract ones, made of little blocks of brass, bronze or copper. Circular and semi-circular shapes are fairly common among the abstract weights; they are commonly interpreted as either the sun or the moon and the life-giving powers of either of them.
Goldweights have long been used by the Akan-speaking peoples of Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire, and the representation of a step pyramid, like in this example, is a common motif. The oldest Akan goldweights were presumably made of stone, and the shape of abstract or stylized metal weights such as this one might well have been inspired by the earlier stone weights. Another interpretation is that the step pyramid form was part of the Akan mathematical system.
Goldweight in the shape of a solid pyramid, with a small piece of rope attached to the hole on top.
Among Akan-speaking peoples of Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire, goldweights were widely used as instruments of the gold trade that was carried out between the 15th and 19th centuries. However, some of the weights might have had other uses besides trade. Some were used as protective devices or amulets, to bring good health or good fortune to people, or to protect them from harm. The small loop on top of this weight, with part of a rope attached to it, suggests that it might have been used as such an amulet.
Goldweight in the shape of a step pyramid topped by a bird.
Akan-speaking peoples in Ghana and Cote d'Ivore have used goldweights since the 15th century, and consider them of local origin, an invention of the ancestors. Scholars frequently posit a foreign origin for the earliest goldweights, which represent a variety of geometric forms. Some figurative goldweights may also be of Islamic derivation, such as this common bird-on-a-pyramid motif, which has direct parallels in 12th-century Persian metalwork. Regardless of the origin of this particular shape of weight, it is clear that birds occupy an important symbolic position in various Akan societies. Among the Asante, the bird image is common on rings worn by elders or chiefs, on swords and linguist staffs, as well as on gold weights; moreover, bird and bird symbols are used as royal appellations and are recurrent subjects of Asante proverbs.
Two men sit on a bench at the lower right. Behind them is a large expanse of water; barges ply the water while smokestacks and buildings are visible on the opposite shore. The overall impression is one of foggy weather and features are generally indistinct.
Whistler found that liminal times of day offered effects that he could translate into a particularly appealing visual poetry. Many of his works sited from the part of Chelsea where he lived looked across the Thames towards the industrial establishments of London; these unpromising views were transformed by his atmospheric and evocative portrayals.
This is a clear glass inkwell with a dark metal lid. The body is composed of a large sphere balanced on three smaller spheres. It has a circular top with a flat lid.
As with most objects of daily use, inkwells could be modest and utilitarian or more fanciful, the latter employing lavish use of precious materials to reflect and enhance the status of the possessor. Inkwells in the UMMA collections demonstrate a rich variety of materials, including silver, crystal, ceramic, and metal. Some pre-date the emergence of the fountain pen, and many mark the transition from a quill or nib pen to the convenience of the pocket pen commonly found today. Inkwells are avidly collected by those who value the artistry that went into the creation of a beautiful object for everyday life.
Silk crepe dyed black with areas of wax-resist in the shape of kotobuki characters. These characters were brushed with red, which matches the inner red lining of momi plain weave silk above with persimmon silk crepe below.
Kotobuki is the chinese character carrying meanings of longevity and congratulations. This kimono may be a pair with 2005/1.352, a haori with blue kotobuki characters.